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Credit Unions and the SymEast Conference

Posted-on May 2024 By Will Leslie

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In the credit union (CU) sector, where community-centric banking intersects with technological innovation, the recent SymEast Event provided a panoramic view of the industry's current standing. In this insights post, we delve into the pivotal takeaways gathered by Will Leslie from the SymEast Event, exploring the current impacts CUs are facing and offering strategies for resilience and growth in a constantly developing sector.

Among the key takeaways, mergers became a dominant theme, with a noticeable decline in the total number of CUs year on year (YOY). Particularly striking was the decrease in CUs with assets under $1 billion, juxtaposed with a rise in the numbers of those with $1 billion or more in assets, indicating a trend towards consolidation. For smaller CUs, the imperative lies in attracting new members and retaining existing ones to remain competitive. Achieving this demands investment in efficient core banking technology and enhancing the digital banking experience.

Another significant revelation from the event was the increasing adoption of remote work among CUs. Nearly 50% of the attendees reported that their CUs now support a remote workforce. However, despite this trend, the biggest hiring struggles highlighted by participants were attributed to organizational reluctance to embrace remote work. This reluctance is detrimental to talent acquisition efforts, particularly in an industry like CUs, which often cater to localized and less densely populated areas. As the demand for skilled professionals grows, HR and executive functions that resist remote work arrangements risk hampering hiring effectiveness and overall competitiveness.

Furthermore, discussions at the event underscored a shift towards contract and project-based hiring within the CU sector. Traditionally favoring direct hire staffing, CUs are increasingly turning to contract resources, especially during peak periods. Several factors contribute to this shift, including budget constraints preventing full-time hires, fluctuating workforce needs throughout the year, and circumventing HR restrictions on remote hiring in areas where talent is scarce.

This strategic utilization of contract resources allows CUs to remain agile and responsive to evolving demands while optimizing resource allocation.

The SymEast Event served as a rich source of insights into the developing dynamics of the CU industry. Thank you to the iO Associates US team for providing us with these valuable notes and insights.

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